The Look

When I was younger the idea of being different never bothered me. I would sing in the language my Mom and my grandma spoke to me in. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. I never noticed the stares and the dirty looks. I was never aware of the hate around me. I sang nothing but love and peace to my parents. My Mom and Grandma showering me with hugs. I felt love. It wasn’t until the 2nd grade I began to become more aware that I was different. I didn’t have the pretty blonde hair that would shine in the sun. My hair was dark brown. My grandma said I had pretty red streaks in my hair that they were just as beautiful when they shined in the sun but no one noticed other than her. To the little blonde girls in my class I was just different. I wanted to be like them. I was bothered by the idea that I had to speak two different languages.

I would hear stories from the little blonde girls. Stories about how they baked cookies with their grandma and how their grandpa would tell them stories from when they were younger. I had my own stories. Stories that no one understood. Stories of how me and my family often went to Mexico and how we had to walk through the tight streets. How me and my grandpa would take a walk to the market and how we would see so many different people, doing so many different things. They never understood the smell of pan dulce the way it tickled your nose and warmed your heart. They never understood my differences, and they didn’t seem to want to.

The years passed and I started to notice it more. Ladies staring at me in the nail salons while I tried to convince my grandma to get the pretty red that matches her so elegantly. I would get glares in fast food restaurants as I tried to help my grandpa decide what he wanted to order. The idea of speaking a different language made people disgusted almost. After the years I started to try to blend with the blonde girls. I tried to speak more of their language and blend in with them. I was born with lighter skin so it wasn’t that difficult. As I started to grow up and I went to middle school my roots were almost fully covered with the white sheet of snow I unintentionally covered them with. I started middle school and almost no one knew that I had Hispanic roots which was almost like my goal. I was tired of no one understanding and having to struggle to explain.

It was up until I met my best friend. My best friend is the girl with the shorter dark hair. The one that knows the smell of pan dulce. The one that goes to Mexico and loves to walk through the town. The one that knows what those stares feel like. She was like the ray of sunshine that melted my snow. I felt more comfortable to tell stories and to speak in my language. She understood me better. She shared similar stories about being stared at, but we decided to help each other up. Whenever we get a gaze or a disgusted look we give them a smile. We show them that yes we speak a different language and yes we come in different colors but we are human, and we let them know us for the human we are not the roots. We show them the flower we become not the roots we grew from.

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